BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 15:46 GMT
What the judges said
Screen grab of judgement
The Lockerbie judgment runs to 82 pages and 26,000 words.

It sets out the judges' conclusions on the mountain of evidence they heard during the nine-month trial.

They decided that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, had been a high-ranking officer within Libya's intelligence service when he planted a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

His co-accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was found not guilty.

There is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused

Judges' opinion
The opinion, available in full on the Scottish Court Service website, says a "major factor" in the case against Megrahi is the identification evidence given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci.

"We accept the reliability of Mr Gauci on this matter, while recognising that this is not an unequivocal identification," the judges write.

"From his evidence it could be inferred that the first accused was the person who bought the clothing which surrounded the explosive device.

A picture of Megrahi shown to shopkeeper Tony Gauci
A picture of Megrahi shown to shopkeeper Tony Gauci
"We have already accepted that the date of purchase of the clothing was 7 December 1988, and on that day the first accused arrived in Malta where he stayed until 9 December.

"He was staying at the Holiday Inn, Sliema, which is close to Mary's House. If he was the purchaser of this miscellaneous collection of garments, it is not difficult to infer that he must have been aware of the purpose for which they were being bought.

"We accept the evidence that he was a member of the JSO (Libyan intelligence service), occupying posts of fairly high rank.

"One of these posts was head of airline security, from which it could be inferred that he would be aware at least in general terms of the nature of security precautions at airports from or to which LAA operated. He also appears to have been involved in military procurement."

'False name'

The judges say they are aware of "uncertainties and qualifications" throughout the case and the danger of selecting parts of evidence "which seem to fit together".

They continue: "However, having considered the whole evidence in the case, including the uncertainties and qualifications, and the submissions of counsel, we are satisfied that the evidence as to the purchase of clothing in Malta, the presence of that clothing in the primary suitcase, the transmission of an item of baggage from Malta to London, the identification of the first accused (albeit not absolute), his movements under a false name at or around the material time ... does fit together to form a real and convincing pattern.

The "coded" passport used by Megrahi
"There is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused, and accordingly we find him guilty of the remaining charge in the indictment as amended."

Clearing Fhimah of murder, the judges referred to entries in Megrahi's diaries.

"While therefore there may well be a sinister inference to be drawn from the diary entries, we have come to the conclusion that there is insufficient other acceptable evidence to support or confirm such an inference, in particular an inference that the second accused (Fhimah) was aware that any assistance he was giving to the first accused was in connection with a plan to destroy an aircraft by the planting of an explosive device," they say.

"There is therefore in our opinion insufficient corroboration for any adverse inference that might be drawn from the diary entries.

"In these circumstances the second accused falls to be acquitted."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

The full Lockerbie opinion on the Scottish Court Service websiteFull verdicts
Lockerbie opinion posted by Scots Court Service
Lockerbie megapuff graphic


Key stories


The trial
See also:

31 Jan 01 | World
Libya: End sanctions now
31 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Blair: 'Justice done' on Lockerbie
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more World stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World stories